Making your own clothes has got that much more eco-friendly and easier thanks to Offset Warehouse, an online store specialising in sustainable and ethical textiles for fashion and interiors.
Offset Warehouse stock a range of “eco fabrics” – everything from denim, canvas, muslin, silk, bamboo, ethnic prints through to jersey.
In addition to Offset Warehouse’s line of eco fabrics, they also stock ethical haberdashery including organic cotton threads; fabric scraps and offcuts that can be used for stuffing, craft items or quilting; and ribbon made from reclaimed material.
Offset Warehouse is a clothes maker’s dream for those wanting to purchase products that are socially and environmentally responsible.
It is where you will find Ahimsa Peace Silk perfect for creating special occasion wear; black bird printed bamboo jersey which would work well as a longline jersey T-shirt or T-shirt dress; and dark blue denim, made from an organic, biodegradable cotton and an azo-free dye, which is ideal for home furnishings and a denim shirt dress even.
The sustainable and ethical fabrics, stocked by Offset Warehouse, are sourced globally from artisans who are dedicated to preserving and perfecting centuries-old traditions and techniques.
Among fabric producers that Offset Warehouse work with include artisans in India, who produce fabrics on small scale family run weaving units, and a cooperative of women in Kerala.
Offset Warehouse source Peace or Ahimsa Silk from a factory in Cambodia, where spinning and weaving mills are steeped in tradition, and spinning equipment is often made from recycled bicycle wheels.
Offset Warehouse was set up by Charlie Ross, a fashion designer, who found it a challenge to incorporate sustainable textiles and eco-friendly dyes into her collections.
Eco fabrics are still being produced in relatively small quantities, and to both find these textiles and be able to acquire just a few metres takes a huge amount of time and research.
Moreover, the fashion designer was also shocked at the impact of the fashion industry itself on the environment and its peoples – slave labour, farmer suicides caused by unfair wages and workers rights, and chemical dyes polluting rivers. With the truth about the fashion industry coming to light more and more, Charlie Ross “couldn’t sit back” and had to take action.
Charlie Ross, Founder and Director of Offset Warehouse, said: “During my time in the fashion industry I discovered all of the awful atrocities that occur behind the scenes of manufacturing: from exploiting workers, to dumping hazardous chemicals into our environment, I was totally shocked. I couldn’t believe that businesses would do anything they could for a bit of extra profit. I swore to solve the problem I was facing sourcing eco fabrics and Offset Warehouse was born.”
Charlie Ross has made it her mission to make eco fabrics accessible to all, whilst sharing practical information on fashion and sustainability. As well as selling eco fabrics through Offset Warehouse, which delivers both locally in the UK as well as internationally, she also runs masterclasses and a series of “environmentally-friendly and ethical design events”, like Green Is The New Black: London Sewing & Fashion. A free event, Green Is The New Black: London Sewing & Fashion is where attendees can learn about sustainability, eco-textiles, employee rights and new sewing skills, as well as meet like-minded people.
Offset Warehouse is a fully transparent business which goes the extra mile in providing an ethical shopping experience to its customers, from start to finish. For each eco fabric they sell, Offset Warehouse provides a comprehensive key that includes information such as eco credentials, recommended care, country of manufacture, fibre content and suggested uses for the fabric.
Their website also provides comprehensive information about the artisans that they source fabrics from, as well as fair trade and organic fabrics from the EU. Their are videos too, which Offset Warehouse have shared on YouTube and social media, where Charlie Ross herself goes about busting the myth that fair trade and organic fabrics are more expensive. In the myth busting video, she even includes comparisons of non-eco friendly fabrics and eco friendly versions stocked by Offset Warehouse. This ethical business have made it certain that no gaps are left in its offering to consumers.
The founder and director, Charlie Ross, also runs two blogs, The Swatchbook Blog and Sew Obsessed Blog. The former provides practical advice to those who are working in the fashion industry, studying fashion design or who are looking into setting up their own ethical fashion label. While the latter provides inspiration, trends and advice for anyone who makes their own clothes, including sewing tips and advice on sustainable practices such as upcycling.
Charlie Ross added: “At the core of all of my work at Offset Warehouse is my passion to help the people who weave our fabrics, and to prevent any further environmental atrocities associated with textile manufacture. It’s my goal to source the most beautiful, hand-crafted and fairly-sourced fabrics, trims and threads from across the globe, and sell from one to hundreds of metres at affordable but fair prices. Most importantly, you can feel good knowing exactly where your fabric has come from, and who has made it.
“But it’s not enough! I want to teach as many people about working ethically. From home sewers, to big name brands – if you’re using a fabric you should be doing much more. There are so many small changes we can make, which impact the lives of millions of textile and garment workers. I am so excited about the possibilities of this new group and have some amazing things lined up for you, which I can not wait to share.”
Images: © Offset Warehouse
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer specialising in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com